SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — As special as it is for those involved, a class of new members gets enshrined annually in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. That makes it somewhat less exclusive than the minting of a coin – which is part of this year’s ceremony as well.
The 2019 enshrinement ceremony at Symphony Hall Friday night was accompanied by the unveiling of a 2020 Hall of Fame commemorative coin, part of the U.S. Mint’s official program.
Designed to celebrate basketball and its players, the Naismith-themed coin is one of just two commemorative coins produced each year by the U.S. Mint. The curved and, in some versions, colorized coins were to make their debut during the enshrinement ceremony broadcast on NBA TV. Hall of Famers Rick Barry and Tina Thompson, the coin’s two artists who were selected during the design competition, and David Ryder, director of the U.S. Mint, were scheduled to participate.
The surcharges for the coins will be $35 for gold, $10 for silver and $5 for clad. The U.S. Mint will produce 15,000 gold coins, 400,00 silver and 750,000 clad versions and make them available for purchase next spring, with revenue going to the Hall to help fund its major renovation as well as ongoing expenses.
The Naismith coin is the result of three years of work and lobbying, passing it through Congress before President Trump signed it into law in December. Ryder said he envisions the coin appealing both to hoops fans and coin enthusiasts, not merely the subset of those who enjoy both.
“If they sell ‘em all out, it will raise about $9.2 million for the Hall of Fame,” Ryder said. “Sports is a huge seller to a lot of our customers. With the marketing pull in sports organizations, it will draw that much more traffic.”
The 2019 program commemorating the Apollo 11 moon landing, Ryder said, generated nearly $55 million in sales.